They Taped Their Roommate And Outed Him On The Internet. Now He’s Dead.

George Washington Bridge, spanning the Hudson ...
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Here’s the price of intolerance — death:

“Had he been in bed with a woman, this would not have happened,” said Lauren Felton, 21, of Warren. “He wouldn’t have been outed via an online broadcast and his privacy would have been respected and he might still have his life.”

Gay rights groups say Tyler Clementi’s suicide makes him a national example of a problem they are increasingly working to combat: young people who kill themselves after being tormented over their sexuality.

A lawyer for Clementi’s family confirmed Wednesday that he had jumped off the George Washington Bridge last week. Police recovered a man’s body Wednesday afternoon in the Hudson River just north of the bridge, and authorities were trying to determine if it was Clementi’s.

Clementi’s roommate, Dhraun Ravi, and fellow Rutgers freshman Molly Wei, both 18, have been charged with invading Clementi’s privacy. Middlesex County prosecutors say the pair used a webcam to surreptitiously transmit a live image of Clementi having sex on Sept. 19 and that Ravi tried to webcast a second encounter on Sept. 21, the day before Clementi’s suicide.

The death of a Rutgers University freshman stirred outrage and remorse on campus from classmates who wished they could have stopped the teen from jumping off a bridge last week after a recording of him having a sexual encounter with a man was broadcast online.

Words fail me on this one.

27 thoughts on “They Taped Their Roommate And Outed Him On The Internet. Now He’s Dead.

  1. I’ve been “totally speechless” since I read about this. You summed it up, “words fail me on this one.” How can people be so cruel…

    I just recently came across your blog and now have a direct feed. Don’t want to miss a single post!

  2. This is devastating, and shows that no matter how far we come in understanding/tolerance, we’ve not come far enough. It also shows the increasingly horrific (and not to mention asinine) misuse of modern media. What happened to respect of privacy?

    1. I think the sexiness and ubiquity of technology has made this sort of crime much easier. Without cellphones, social media, webcams….not possible. It’s also lowered the barriers to what some people consider private, as though that’s for them to decide for others!

    1. Mary

      Sorry, but I don’t agree that this happened because “he did not fit the standards of America.” What kind of “American standard” makes it ok to harass, bully and “out” another human being based on their sexual preference? What kind of morality makes that OK? What kind of God would approve of “throwing the first stone” that leads another to suicide?

  3. Tyler

    Hi Caitlin, like the blog. Just thought I’d point out that your blog theme makes it almost impossible to see more than your three most current posts. For someone who is trying to figure out if they want to come back, three posts make it hard to get a read on a blog. Might want to experiment with some other designs.

    All the best.

    1. I know. I chose it because it reads like a newspaper and that’s my background. It also gives my readers three chances to see what I’m up to. If they’re interested, I assume (wrongly perhaps) they’ll dig a bit further in the archives.

  4. Rodica

    More education about the “cyber bullling” and its deadly consequences would help. Also some laws as not everyone understands unless they have personal negative consequences of their irresponsible actions.
    By the way, the comment about college students????? what does that have to do with anything. I wonder if this person IS a college student and what IT gives the right to make such an inclusive statement. It has NOTHING to do with being a college student but with sensitivity, empathy and irresponsibility.

  5. This news enraged me. I sincerely hope this young man’s family finds the strength to endure the pain that accompanies their loss. As far as the perpetrators I hope the law makes an example out of them; Sending, this way, a message that this and any other type of bullying/hate crime will be heavily punished.

  6. snoringdogstudio

    This and the one about the 13 year old as well – both recent news that says so much about intolerance, indifference to feelings, mindless cruelty and stupidity, and that we’ve still not yet evolved past it all. It’s discouraging but it has less to do with what technology enables and more to do with the savagery and lack of concern for consequences. And sadly, the need for our 15 minutes of attention and fame, made easier by technology. I blogged about this news yesterday on my blog ( I wish all our outrage could be translated into real change.

  7. I have another point of view for which, I know, I will be vilified. Although I am sick to my stomach when I read things like this and my own daughter is gay, his suicide creates more and more awareness about what people with alternative lifestyles suffer. More awareness creates more intolerance towards the creators of this aberrant behavior – and I’m not talking about Clementi. I’m talking about his tormentors. I’m so very sorry that Clementi had to be another casualty in this “war” though.

  8. What these two students did is so abhorrent to me that I can’t even imagine their thought process. I was badly bullied in high school for three years — but it was nothing like what is possible now through the use of technology. It is unimaginable to me that anyone can be as cruel and stupid as these two students were.

    If I were they, or their parents, I would have hired very good bodyguards by now. Their lives should be endangered by their behavior — and some smarmy lawyer will probably get them both off the hook.

  9. Mary

    If the young woman quoted above is correct, and the roommates would NOT have invaded his privacy and live-streamed a hetero act, then the roommates CAN be tried for HATE CRIMES.

    I think heinous is too subtle a word for the thoughtless disregard his two roommates showed this sensitive young man, but I am equally convinced thus far that to them, it was “sexting” and a prank. How the courts decide to treat this case will be illuminating.

    This by the way is the FOURTH incident of teen suicide among gay-leaning kids THIS MONTH. And that’s just the ones we know about. Gay-bashing and its tragic result is reaching epidemic proportions. How do we stop this hideous situation?

  10. Mary, I wish I knew. I guess this has shown us that “gay pride” certainly doesn’t extend nearly far enough. I am saddened to hear that so many gay kids are terrified of exposure.

  11. Mary

    Not enough of us come truly out to the world, so there are not many public role models and certainly not enough community support for kids at risk. Gay Pride can’t be one “feel-good” week a year, if it is supposed to change anyone’s perception of us. Until we are really assimilated into everyone’s everyday experience, so that no one can say they don’t have a gay friend, neighbor or co-worker, kids will still be at risk.

  12. It saddens me to think that intolerance will never be completely abolished: intolerance of intolerance is just another form of it, after all; but this sort of blatant disregard for a fellow human’s emotions and right to live as he/she chooses to, this need to pass judgement that so many people seem to cling to, as though self-righteousness outweighs someone else’s worth as a human being, is just baffling to me. I can’t ever understand it.

    I hope the two teens responsible for the bullying are sentenced.

    What a waste. It makes me so angry I can barely see straight.

  13. Mary, I think your point is a good one. Think of every major figure who happily announces they are gay…how many are there? But some distant celebrity isn’t the same as knowing someone you can call, email or sit with face to face t work things through. I attended the wedding of a gay male friend in Toronto about eight years ago — a lovely celebration but NO BIG DEAL. I grew up in Canada, where gay marriage is legal and has been for years…

    mescribe — there is a strain of self-righteousness in the US that, if it exists elsewhere, may be less violent. I see this all the time when I blog and in comments. People are terrified and angry (why?) when others don’t conform to their “norms.”

    What no one has said — hmmmm — is that the two brutes who tormented this student were both visible minorities, one Chinese and one South Asian. They felt so confident in *their* accepted status and identities they could do this to a gay guy. Love this irony.

  14. Pingback: The Culture of Bullying « Woman Wielding Words

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